Saturday, January 8, 2011

DOJ Subpoenas Twitter Records in Fishing Expedition

The Witch Hunt Begins!

What might the US DOJ be fishing for?
Now read this... my opinion, this is a fishing expidition, and will do more damage to the US reputation among "normal" people than the creation of the Collateral damage video. After all, what are we fighting for?

Glenn Greenwald writes on salon, that the original order, issued Dec 14th, from Federal Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan was sealed, but was unsealed january 5th, at Twitter's request, to give the targets 10 days to appeal.

A copy of the Order served on Twitter is here.
The Order was signed by a federal Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, Theresa Buchanan, and served on Twitter by the DOJ division for that district. It states that there is "reasonable ground to believe that the records or other information sought are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation," the language required by the relevant statute. It was issued on December 14 and ordered sealed -- i.e., kept secret from the targets of the Order. It gave Twitter three days to respond and barred the company from notifying anyone, including the users, of the existence of the Order. On January 5, the same judge directed that the Order be unsealed at Twitter's request in order to inform the users and give them 10 days to object; had Twitter not so requested, it would have been compelled to turn over this information without the knowledge of its users. A copy of the unsealing order is here.

Collateral Murder

Greenwald believes that the order stems from an investigation into the video Collateral Murder, which was worked on in Iceland.

The Guardian reports that an Iceland PM plans to fight the order.
Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP for the Movement in Iceland, said last night on Twitter that the "USA government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?"

She said she was starting a legal fight to stop the US getting hold of her messages, after being told by Twitter that a subpoena had been issued. She wrote: "department of justice are requesting twitter to provide the info – I got 10 days to stop it via legal process before twitter hands it over."
Jonsdottir said she was demanding a meeting with the US ambassador to Iceland. "The justice department has gone completely over the top." She added that the US authorities had requested personal information from Twitter as well as her private messages and that she was now assessing her legal position.

"It's not just about my information. It's a warning for anyone who had anything to do with WikiLeaks. It is completely unacceptable for the US justice department to flex its muscles like this. I am lucky, I'm a representative in parliament. But what of other people? It's my duty to do whatever I can to stop this abuse."

In a sweeping effort to connect Bradley manning, who is being held in solitary confinement in a military brig, with WikiLeaks, and prove that Jullian Assange interacted with Manning before the leaks, the DOJ is apparently conducting a fishing expidition....
The order (PDF) also covers "subscriber account information" for Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private charged with leaking classified information; Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum; Dutch hacker and XS4ALL Internet provider co-founder Rop Gonggrijp; and Wikileaks editor Julian Assange.

Appelbaum, who gave a keynote speech at a hacker conference last summer on behalf of the document-leaking organization and is currently in Iceland, said he plans to fight the request in a U.S. court. Appelbaum, a U.S. citizen who's a developer for the Tor Project, has been briefly detained at the border and people in his address book have been hassled at airports.

The U.S. government began an criminal investigation of Wikileaks and Assange last July after the Web site began releasing what would become a deluge of confidential military and State Department files. In November, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the probe is "ongoing," and a few weeks later an attorney for Assange said he had been told that a grand jury had been empaneled in Alexandria
Gregg Mitchell, blogging on The Nation, with live updates all weekend...
The Wikileaks News & Views Blog, Special Weekend Edition!

BELOW The full story of the shocking new DOJ move against WikiLeaks supporters, seeking records from Twitter, as it developed, most recent news at top.

12:35 WikiLeaks official Twitter feed: "Note that we can assume Google & Facebook also have secret US government subpeonas. They make no comment. Did they fold?"

Here is a link to the US Investigation into this "incident." No wonder reuters continued with it's FOIR after obtaining this report!
It's pretty ironic that our government is trying to secretly crack down on the people who are exposing many of its shameful secrets.

The Obama administration has far better things to do than pick on the hardiest defenders of open government and freedom of information.

This campaign of harassment and intimidation that the Justice Department is evidently undertaking against volunteers and supporters of WikiLeaks is embarrassing and abhorrent. We call for it to end. Immediately.

As progressives, we believe in a government that is open, straightforward, and accountable to the people it serves. This is a democracy.

We, the people of America, have a right to know what is being done in our name, and to whom. There is no moral justification for the corrupt culture of data-mining, surveillance, and secret-keeping that the political establishment of this country has created, sanctioned, and perpetuated over the years.

When Barack Obama ran for President, he ran on a platform of change. He promised to end abuses of power, and govern more responsibly.

But unfortunately, instead of changing D.C., he has let D.C. change him, in his zeal to avoid confrontation and acrimony.

What Obama doesn't seem to understand or appreciate is that you can't upend the establishment by singing Kumbaya. You have to be confrontational.

WikiLeaks has been effective because it has dared to share, and even publish, what others wouldn't or couldn't. If its volunteers shied away from confrontation, it wouldn't be on anybody's radar. We would be unaware of the covert and illegitimate activities of our government that they have exposed.

By choosing to persecute whistleblowers, the Obama administration is betraying our finest traditional values, and wasting an opportunity to shake up the status quo. What they're trying to do to WikiLeaks is beyond troubling. It's appalling.

And it needs to stop.

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